Stigma Fighters : Michelle Hammer

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Stigma Fighters : Michelle Hammer

Talking to myself

This is hard to explain and I’m not really sure how to do it but I want to explain what it’s like when I talk to myself. Everyone talks to themselves…well a little bit, but not like me. Not like how I do it. They don’t feel like they’re in different place, with different people. They know 100% what their reality is. But I’m gone. Zoned out. If you’re trying to get my attention it may take a minute. I’ll snap out of it. But at that point in time…I’m gone.

It became harder to hide as I got older, not that it was ever easy to hide. When I first went to college, I lived in small quad dorm with three other roommates. I tried very hard to silence the talking. But there were those moments that I didn’t realize I was speaking. My roommates noticed it, but I just told them I was “thinking out loud.” That excuse worked for a while. One time while I thought my roommate was sleeping, she heard me and told me, “wow, I could have sworn there was another person in the room the way you were talking.”

I talk about a variety of things when I talk to myself. They fall into the broad categories of good or bad. When it’s good, I often burst into laughter. My Sophomore year of college, I had a professor who asked me after class, if I was laughing at him while he taught. I didn’t know how to respond, so I just told him that I “just do that…sorry.” When it’s bad, though, it’s terrible. I’m in a fight in my head. It’s an argument that won’t end. Ton’s of ruminating thoughts that just repeat and repeat over and over again. The bad ones don’t happen to me much anymore, which I couldn’t be happier about.

I’ve had some various reactions over the years, especially while living in New York City. People have looked at me very strangely on the subway, and I know exactly why. They see me having a chat with an invisible person. I guess I deserve the strange look they give me. Although, I’ve had positive reactions too. Once, a woman told me I have a “Mona Lisa Smile.” I must have been have a good talk that day. Another time, a man in Starbucks told me that I have great energy and happiness. I guess I was having another good talk.

It’s hard to talk about talking to myself. Sometimes I think there of things I wished would happen or things I wished never happened, and I think about how I would have done things differently. But sometimes those things I think of never really happened, and I don’t know which are true and which aren’t. This makes me not trust myself. If I can’t trust my own thoughts then who can I trust? I am so grateful to have a supportive safety net. My family, my friends…I know I can trust them. That’s why I feel so lucky that I am where I am today.

About a year ago I was on the F train sitting near a homeless man. He was talking to himself. Loud. Zoned out. He didn’t know what was real. And I thought how much of myself I could see in him. Without all the help I’ve gotten would I be on the streets?….I have to do something, I thought then, to make a change. Mentally ill people need help and should not be living on the streets.

*****

michelleschizMichelle is a 27 year old born and bred New Yorker. She was officially diagnosed with Schizophrenia at age 22, however she has struggled with mental illness her entire life. Michelle founded and owns the company Schizophrenic.NYC which is a clothing line that sells tanks, tees and prints in order to raise awareness for the mentally ill homeless living in NYC.

Michelle can be found on Schizophrenic.NYC, Facebook and Twitter

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By | 2017-04-13T08:26:12+00:00 September 17th, 2015|Categories: Brave People, Schizophrenia, Stigma Fighters|Tags: , , , , |0 Comments

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